How To Clean Water Softener: Step-By-Step Guide 2023

how to clean water softener

How to clean water softeners? Water softeners help reduce hard water buildup, which can result in clogged pipes, mineral deposits, and scale buildup. With a water softener, you can enjoy soft water free of minerals and other contaminants, making it better for skin, hair, and appliances.

Cleaning a water softener is a relatively easy task that will help ensure your water is free of contaminants and other impurities. In this article, we’ll discuss the best ways how to clean water softeners and some important tips. 

Let’s start! Following a few simple steps, you can clean your water softener and keep it running efficiently.

How To Clean Water Softener: Introduction

Generally, cleaning a water softener should be done yearly or every five years, depending on the conditions. Nonetheless, if the water coming out becomes harder, appears discolored, or has a strange odor, clean the entire system instantly.

Clean the brine tank when it has nearly depleted its salt content. This allows less manual labor to empty it and makes it easy to move for better access. Furthermore, it may be beneficial to take the tank outside to avoid water mess indoors.

Additionally, when the salt concentration is low, any dirt or fungus present in the tank is visible at the bottom.

Please Note: The sediment accumulated over time is held within the cheap rock salt used for softening. This sediment cannot dissolve, so it builds up as the brine tank is replenished repeatedly. 

The primary goal of cleaning is to keep the deposits from blocking your system. Additionally, it could also stop salt from dissolving correctly. Over time, the salt water could start to appear like thick mud.

If the salt concentration in the water is too high and you don’t feel like waiting, you’ll have to remove it by hand. Generally, any salt above the grid plate (if present) should be kept and used later. Anything beneath the plate can be discarded.

If you possess a water softener that refills itself, it is necessary to drain out all the water afterward.

How To Clean Water Softener: Cleaning A Brine Tank

how to clean water softener

Here is the step-by-step guide on how to clean water softener brine tank: 

  • Unplug every pipe and tube that connects the water softener to the brine tank.
  • Do not discharge the brine tank water onto lawns or plants since the high salt concentration in the mixture could damage them.
  • Remove remaining salt and discard.
  • If there is a significant salt accumulation inside the brine tank, it can be broken up and removed by using warm or hot water.
  • If your brine tank has a brine grid, remove it. This is the rack/mesh that sits at the bottom of the tank. Not all brine tanks have this component.
  • Put 2-3 spoonfuls of dish detergent into 1-2 gallons of water to make a foaming solution.
  • Put the combination of soap and water in the brine container and clean the interior with a brush with an extended handle. Discard the contents and rinse them off with water.
  • Clean the interior of the tank using a brush and a chlorine solution. Put 2-3 gallons of fresh water into the brine container with a fourth of a cup of regular bleach. Stir it around and let the combination of bleach and water sit for 15 minutes.
  • Discard the bleach solution and thoroughly rinse the container.
  • Reinstall the brine tank and attach all hoses to the water softener and the drain. Change the system’s configuration, so it is no longer in the “Bypass Mode”.
  • Fill up the brine tank with 5 gallons of fresh water.
  • Placing two 50-pound bags of water softener salt in the brine tank is necessary. The brine tank should always contain a minimum of one-fourth of its capacity in water softener salt. Do not fill the brine tank with salt to the top.

This is how to clean a water softener brine tank.

How To Clean Water Softener: Venturi Valve/Brine Injector Cleaning

Water softeners either feature a venturi valve or a brine injector responsible for taking the brine from brine tank into the resin tank.

A mesh net or protective screen is placed over the resin tank to avoid contamination. However, this could result in the clogging of the valve or injector. Cleaning away any debris from whatever you use every half-year or so is advisable.

Checking the instructions manual for each water softener model is advisable as the instructions will differ.

The individual parts are in the back of the head unit. First, you will need to switch the softener to bypass mode. Afterward, reduce the water pressure by manually regenerating it before finally taking the cover off.

How To Clean Water Softener: Tips For Cleaning

how to clean water softener

Here are some essential tips on how to clean water softener: 

Tip 1. Understand how to clean a water softener resin tank

It is essential to understand how to clean a resin tank of a water softener because this is the part of the unit which produces softened water. If you are unsure what a resin tank is, don’t stress; it is a straightforward concept.

The water softener contains beads made from resin with a negative electric charge. When the water passes through these beads, substances like calcium which lead to scale buildup, cling to them.

Generally, your water softener will flush out the beads on its own. However, assuming you will not have to perform maintenance on them until 15-20 years, you must clean them. You understand that it is time to do so when the tank regenerates.

There are numerous types of containers filled with resin bead cleaners that are available to purchase. It is essential to read the manual for your device to learn the exact instructions for use.

Tip 2. Knowing how to clean water softener brine tank is essential

The water softener has two separate tanks; one for the resin beads and the other for the salt pellets. However, from time to time, the salt pellets can disintegrate and form a murky layer at the bottom of the container.

Knowing how to clean water softener’s salt tank is crucial to prevent any damage brought on by debris buildup.

how to clean water softener

At least once a year, when the number of salt starts to diminish, use a small shovel to take out the sediment. If it has solidified, you may need to dig deeply or use a hammer to break the salt apart.

From time to time, mold may form on the floor of the brine tank. If this happens, you should empty it and thoroughly clean the inside.

Tip 3. Use bleach to clean a water softener

If you detect the presence of mold in your home’s water softener, you can run a “bleach cycle” through the complete unit. Make sure to consult the instructions provided with the softener to make sure the manufacturer permits this technique.

Depending on the size of the tank, 1-2 cups of bleach need to be put into the brine tank. Once the tank is closed, the system should regenerate. You mustn’t consume water from your tap.

And that’s how to clean water softener using bleach!

Tip 4. Look out for salt bridges

Salt bridge is common in brine tanks of water softeners. It can give the impression that the brine tank is filled. If poked with a stick or shovel, it will fall apart.

Develop a practice of periodically investigating salt bridges, especially if it appears the tank remains at its maximum capacity for an excessive period.

Newly-installed water softeners are more likely to have salt bridges due to their lower salt usage. If the salt lasts longer, there is a higher chance of salt bridges formation.

When replenishing the salt in the brine tank, always ensure it is a few inches higher than the water level. Before introducing new salt pellets, be sure to scrape off any salt that has hardened on the sides of the tank and break down any big chunks of salt.

Remember that after you add salt to the brine tank, it will take some time to dissolve (roughly 2 hours) before the regeneration process can start. If the regeneration process begins too quickly after the salt is put in, the water-softening resin may not be thoroughly cleaned.

After following the steps, if the water has not been softened, it may be due to a technical problem with the softener or the salt you are using. 

Unsure if your water softener is functioning as it should or completely softening the water? 

You need to contact a local authorized water tech dealer and have your system thoroughly checked out.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) On How To Clean Water Softener

1. How do I clean my water softener tank?

Put 1-2 gallons of water and ¼ cup of plain bleach into the brine container. Utilize a brush to clean the salt receptacle thoroughly. Allow the bleach mixture to stay in the brine tank for an hour. Empty and wash the bleach solution totally from the brine tank.

2. Can I use vinegar to clean my water softener?

If you prefer to clean the brine tank with a sponge instead of going through a complete process, you can blend vinegar with water and use it for the same purpose as you would with bleach. The same guidelines should be adhered to when using either cleaner.

3. Can you use bleach to clean water softener?

To flush a water softener:

  • Switch the device to the backwash mode and let the water flow through the drain for 10 minutes.
  • If the liquid is still cloudy, let it keep running until it becomes clear.
  • Place 2 ounces of 5.25% bleach per cubic foot of material in the brine well. When it comes to a zeolite system, you should use 6 ounces per cubic foot.

4. How often should you flush your water softener?

Generally, water softeners don’t require an annual cleaning, despite their frequent use. Clean them every five to 10 years. If water softener is more than 15 years old, it will likely need cleaning every year.

5. How do I get rid of bacteria in my water softener?

When hard water passes through the softener, it causes the hardness ions to settle onto the base of the container, known as the Resin Bed. Even though the salt cannot eliminate bacteria, a bleach or vinegar cycle can remove the bacteria from the system altogether.

Conclusion: How To Clean Water Softener

how to clean water softener

Water softeners provide the highest water quality possible. However, you can improve its performance by regularly performing maintenance on it. The best way would be to turn it off in bypass mode, clean the brine tank, and then turn it back on.

If you notice any build-up on the venturi valve or the brine injector, it is necessary to clean it immediately. You can remove the other parts of the unit and take the required precautions.

Taking care of a water softener isn’t tricky. The brine tank is easily accessible, and it’s simple to confirm that it’s clean when replenishing the salt every 4 weeks. Additionally, if the maker approves it, try regularly running a bleach cycle through the system.

If your water softener regenerates more often than normal, you can use a specific resin bead cleaner to rejuvenate the beads instead of replacing them at 15 to 20-year intervals.

Finally, you should be mindful of salt bridges. A stick or shovel can remove these salt bridges.

If you are unsure, seek help from professionals! I hope this article on how to clean water softener sounds helpful!

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